The project management principle “Navigating Complexity” finds a natural ally in the Scrum framework. Scrum is fundamentally designed to address complexity through its adaptive, iterative approach. For Project Managers transitioning to Scrum Masters, understanding how Scrum excels in navigating complexity is crucial. Scrum’s lightweight yet robust framework is geared towards generating value by providing adaptive solutions to complex problems.

Potential dangers for project managers, just picking out two from my experiences

Over-Reliance on Predictive Methods: Project Managers used to predictive, plan-driven approaches may struggle with the dynamic nature of complex environments. Scrum requires a shift towards adaptive and iterative methods.

Underestimating Emergent Complexity: In traditional project management, complexity is often seen as a planning challenge. Scrum recognizes that complexity is a fact, requiring continual vigilance and responsiveness.

Navigating Complexity in Scrum

Empirical Process Control: Scrum’s foundation in empiricism — transparency, inspection, and adaptation — is key to dealing with complexity. This approach allows teams to respond effectively to the unpredictable nature of complex problems.

Iterative Development and Feedback Loops: Scrum’s iterative approach, with regular feedback loops, allows teams to navigate complexity by breaking down work into manageable increments. This facilitates easier adjustments and quicker responses to change.

Collaborative Problem-Solving: Scrum fosters a collaborative team environment, where diverse perspectives and collective intelligence are crucial in finding adaptive solutions to complex challenges.

Steps you can take as Project Manager to transition to a professional use of the Scrum framework:

Adopt an Agile Mindset: Embrace the agile principles of flexibility, responsiveness, and collaboration. Recognize that in complex environments, being adaptive is more effective than trying to predict every outcome.

Understand and Implement Scrum Artifacts and Events: Familiarize yourself with Scrum artifacts and events. Use these tools to create transparency, inspect progress, and adapt plans based on learnings and changes in the environment.

Promote Team Collaboration and Self-Management: Encourage a team culture that values open communication, collaboration, and self-management. Empower your team to take ownership of their work and contribute to navigating complexities.


For Project Managers transitioning to Scrum, mastering the art of navigating complexity involves embracing Scrum’s empirical, iterative approach. By doing so, you enable your team to respond with agility and creativity to complex challenges, continuously delivering value in uncertain and ambiguous environments.

Next Steps

Begin by re-evaluating current initiatives through the lens of complexity and Scrum’s adaptive approach. Engage in Scrum training to deepen your understanding and practical application of its principles. Remember, navigating complexity with Scrum is a journey of continuous learning and adaptation. Let’s embark on this journey to harness the full potential of Scrum in complex environments.

Exploring this project management aspect within Scrum reveals a complex relationship between project management skills and agile practices which we only just touched upon. Project Managers can bring valuable expertise to a Scrum team, but realizing its full potential only happens when the skills are adapted and applied to each unique Scrum Team’s context.

I hope you find value in these short articles and if you are looking for more clarifications, feel free to take contact.


If you want to take a deeper dive into the concepts we are covering in this blog series, then surely check out our Professional Scrum MasterY workshop. We have some scheduled in the coming period.


Don’t want to miss any of these blog posts? Have the “From PM to PSM” series weekly in your mailbox.


Wishing you an inspiring read and a wonderful journey.
Scrum on.






Leave a Reply